Videos or surveillance footage can confirm a crime and help trials go more swiftly. However, they can also make the proceedings more complicated because of issues that could arise, such as tampering with the video, concealment or destruction of the footage, and admissibility of the evidence. When it comes to traffic crimes like DWI, footage taken from CCTV systems along highways or roads and from police dashboard cameras is usually considered key evidence.
Recently, the State of North Carolina has approved funding for body cameras for law enforcers, which means videos from these devices may also eventually be used in DWI proceedings. Just like other evidence held by law enforcement agencies (like witness statements and lab test results), body cam footage is not considered a part of public records.
What Does This Mean for Defendants?
If you’re facing DWI charges, body cam footage and the other evidences gathered by law enforcer/s may actually work in your defense. You need to work with an experienced Raleigh criminal lawyer who knows the ins and outs of DWI laws, so you can obtain these pieces of evidence legitimately and appropriately, and find out if they can help your case.
For instance, if the video shows you received unjust treatment or misleading information from the arresting officers, you and your lawyer can use that in your defense. Other times, you can use the footage to prove mitigating circumstances and work out a lesser penalty or sentence.